Taoist Wednesday: Verse 9, Overfulfillment

Keep filling your bowl, and it will spill over.

Keep sharpening your knife, and it will blunt.

Keep hoarding gold in your house, and you will be robbed.

Keep seeking approval, and you will be chained.

The Great Integrity leads to actualization, never overfulfillment.

I find myself often a victim of seeking more than I can handle, more than my capacity.  It is really quite odd, how often I find myself filling my bowl beyond it’s rim, though I believe a more constant problem of mine involves my Yin and Yang.

I often find myself overfilling my Yang, which is contradictory to this verse. For when you overfill your Yang, you leave far less room for your Yin. One cannot be truly fulfilled by only half of your true self, just as one cannot be filled beyond their capacity.

Not only must we watch how much we intake, but what we intake. Beware letting yourself be filled too much with one, that room is not left for the other, for all excess falls along the side.

The Tao has no storage room, for we are all travelers.


My Search for Balance

I have often said that if Nostalgia were a drug, it would be the drug I am addicted to. I think I may also be susceptible to overdosing. Often I feel as if I am drowning in memory, trapped in the past, consumed by mistakes I have made and a desire for redemption.
How non-Taoist of me. How much I restrict my happiness by living not in the present, but in the past, or on occasion allowing my anxiety for the future to rule me in it’s place. Oh the depth of the problem I have created by restricting my harmony with my own self, and unbalancing my Yin and Yang.
I still believe that a big step in my recovery would be finding my other half, my “Yin” if you would like to call them such. I would certainly be more capable of working on my issues, if I had another wonderful being with similar but balancing issues to work on with. If I had one to harmonize with, As for now I am unbalanced, seeking to balance myself off of good friends instead, though that cannot bring the fullness of what I require. Indeed I find it quite lacking.
Do not get me wrong, many of my friends and family members are wonderful people, who are certainly doing what they can to help me, but they simply cannot, rather than will not. Few of them, unfortunately, understand the loneliness that I have within me. Few know what it is like to be an Ender.
If you are ever interested in psycho-analyzing me, that would be a good place to start by the way. Look at Ender Wiggin, from the book, “Ender’s Game”, by Orson Scott Card. There is a person who I can understand completely. He was always surrounded by people who connected to each other, in ways he could not connect with them. He was always alone, despite being surrounded by these people, some of which ecen wanted to connect to him, but couldn’t.

It is in this way that I see myself as him. I have always been apart from everyone else, and not been able to make a solid connection with anyone else. I am always different.

I don’t mind it really, not normally. It is who I am, and I have come to accept it. It has only become a problem since I have begun to seek my equal. The one which can balance me out. I only hope that I can find them before I am consumed entirely by my Yang.


Taoist Wednesday, Verse 8: The Highest Good

The highest good is like water, nourishing life effortlessly, flowing without prejudice to the lowliest places.

It springs from all who nourish their community with a benevolent heart as deep as an abyss, who are incapable of lies and injustices, who are rooted in the earth, and whose natural rhythms of action play midwife to the highest good of every pregnant moment.

I am often curious as to how some people interpret their holy texts. Often I find that especially those of the Christian faith(Though it is to them that I have had the most exposure, I am sure it occurs in all other religions as well) often ignore words in their texts, and then follow others, claiming that those words are what make them “good”.

It is strange how often people forget that “blessed are the peacemakers” or “blessed are the meek”. Good does not roar in the face of injustice, it is instead the quite thrum of those that stubbornly refuse to let injustice win. It is not a shout, but a whisper, so that it may spread surely from ear to ear.

Beware of any who put themselves up on high in order to show how good they are, how Christian, how Muslim, how Jewish. How Buddhist, Hindu, or Taoist. Beware of any who say, I am good and perfect, so be like me, for you are a sinner and beneath me.

Instead, treasure the extended hand that pulls you up, and walks beside you, and carries you when you stumble. It is those that quietly serve the great harmony and balance of life, the peacemakers and the meek, that are those to watch and learn from. It doesn’t matter what religion they belong to, good people are good people no matter what, and you can always learn from their gentle guidance.

Taoist Wednesday, Verse 6: Life’s Spirit

The spirit of life never dies.

It is the infinite gateway to mysteries within mysteries.

It is the seed of yin, the spark of yang.

Always elusive, endlessly available.


 Here again we speak of the soul of the universe, or in this case it is referred to as the spirit of life. The source of all life is endless, as the universe continues to create it, though we never seem to be able to quite understand it. It remains aloof, escaping our understanding and our control, but yet we have it all around us, and we are always able to put it to use, if we but realize how.

The spirit of life is what plants seeds of emotions, and sparks our passions. It is what drives our wanderlust. Our need to explore.

It is the gateway to nirvana, and a metaphorical Shangri La. It is the source of truth, at least in the sense that we gain knowledge by acting on the drive it gives us. It is the gateway, the path by which we obtain an understanding of everything else.

Follow your passion. Dance to the Life Rhythm.


Taoist Wednesday, #5 Verse 5: Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang aren’t sentimental. They exist without moralizing. They act regardless of our wishes within the ebb and flow of every pregnant moment.

The space between yin and yang is like a bellows – empty, yet infinitely full. The more it yields, the more it fills.

Countless words count less than the silent balance between yin and yang.

Ah, sweet nature of balance, of that which is all! This is perhaps my favorite verse in the Tao Te Ching. The imagery that this verse captures brings such compelling thought to my mind.

Indeed, it is by becoming empty that we are filled.

There is an old Zen story which tells of a monk filling a cup to the brim, and then continuing to pour liquid in while his students asked him “What he was doing”. He went on to illustrate that a mind that is already filled cannot be filled further, so in order to obtain knowledge one must become an empty vessel.

That being said, I find the bellows analogy to be better, for as it yields it also acts, and helps to strengthen the fires around him, the passion of others. This is very important as we begin to understand that in order to create harmonious life, we must give as much as we take.

Such it is with yin and yang. In order to understand yin, we must give up yang, and in order to understand yang, we must give up yin. In order to keep our progression we must continue in this cycle, until we achieve the perfect balance between the halves.

It is only then that we come to understand the universe.